A multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Botswana says it has secured space in some high-end malls in Nairobi and other towns where it expects to commence operations before end of this year.
Choppies, which commands 30 per cent of the retail market in Botswana and also present in South Africa, Zimbabwe and West Africa, said it would target A-rated clients, same cluster as Nakumatt and Carrefour supermarkets. About a month ago, the Botswana retail giant tapped the immediate former Group Finance Director at Nakumatt Holdings Mr Vijay Kumar (pictured) to head its operations in the region.
Mr Kumar whose new title is executive director – East Africa, will oversee the retailers operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. He says the retailer has already signed deals with four high-end malls in Nairobi, two on the outskirts and one each in Narok, Nakuru and Eldoret.
“We expect to open our first mall before end of the year. Our experience as a multi-national retail chain will help us offer customers the best value for money, convenience and household items ranging from groceries to electronics,” said Kumar. The company is on course to opening 40 stores by 2020, said Kumar, who is now looking at a bigger business potential over a longer horizon. “We can, over a period of four years, have 40 stores. The potential in Kenya is huge.”
The retailer projects it would grow its stores at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4 in the next five years. Kumar is to identify new locations with high growth catchment areas and potential malls where the retail chain can set up its outlets.
He disclosed they had already closed a couple of deals with some upcoming high-end malls where Choppies will be the preferred anchor tenant. Even though there are many competitors, Choppies has managed to expand to some African countries starting with South Africa where it is in tough competition with its rivals and it is still the preferred retailer giving it an upper hand, which is why it is able to explore foreign markets.
Opening stores of the kind that Choppies requires, with about two acres of space on average and with lease of several years, is not easy. Experts have put the gestation period for a store launch at 2.5 years but Kumar is confident that the retail chain’s experience in other markets will give it a competitive advantage.
Choppies will go a long way in ensuring that its customers get a world-class experience in its stores offering quality branded products (both food and non-food) in all its outlets. Choppies enjoys dual listing, first done at the Botswana Stock Exchange and later at South Africa’s Johannesburg Securities Exchange.
In the recent past, it has ventured into different formats of stores in several countries including hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores to increase the footfalls, basket values and profitability.
“We will consistently offer value deals due to our scale of operation in the continent. One of the features we are proud of is that most of our stores elsewhere are close to commuters and residential nodes offering attractive and wide ranges of internationally popular products at value-for-money and we will seek to replicate the same here in Kenya,” said Kumar.